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My Father Gives Me a Fish

My father had a look when he was thinking, a narrowing of the eyes, that made even robins pause in their flight, wondering, ``What is he thinking?'' And sometimes he would say what, and sometimes the thought would sink, like a great carp into its pool, vanishing as he turned away, silent, and we would be disappointed - but we came to know the fish would rise again, in its own shy time, not drawn by baits or lures, but by a curiosity about our eyes. This was a long time ago. But I have learned to watch for the fish, to give it its time, quietly, waiting, listening, for its head to rise. It does. It is not my father's fish, nor mine, but still was his gift, as I see when it lips the air, rolls up, flashes its gold scales, showing each one in crisp detail, in fresh definition, as it glints its target eye in the sun, tilts up its tail again, slides down once more to its depth, having revealed itself a little more to the patient daily ecstasy of contemplation.

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